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Michael Barrymore entitled to ‘substantial damages’ over arrest, High Court told

Mr Barrymore’s claim, including aggravated and exemplary damages, is in excess of £2.4 million.

Entertainer Michael Barrymore should get substantial damages from Essex Police over the wrongful arrest which destroyed his career, the High Court has heard.

Mr Barrymore, 65, was arrested and detained in June 2007 on suspicion of the rape and murder of 31-year-old Stuart Lubbock, who was found in the swimming pool at his Roydon home six years before.

Essex Police has now admitted the arrest was unlawful, as the arresting officer did not have reasonable grounds to suspect that Mr Barrymore was guilty.

But, it is contended that the comedian and TV presenter could have been lawfully arrested by another officer and that, as a result, he is only entitled to nominal damages.

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Mr Barrymore’s claim, including aggravated and exemplary damages, is in excess of £2.4 million.

He was in court in London on Monday to hear his counsel, Hugh Tomlinson QC, say that he had “great sympathy” for Mr Lubbock’s family and had always made it clear he would do whatever he could to assist them find out what happened.

“He has also made it clear he did not kill or assault Mr Lubbock. Although he was arrested, he was never charged with any offence and the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) subsequently made it crystal clear there was no basis for any charges.

“Our case is that when speculation, rumour and conjecture are put to one side, it is clear there is no evidence against the claimant in relation to any offence concerning Mr Lubbock.”

Mr Tomlinson told Mr Justice Stuart-Smith that Mr Barrymore remained convinced that Mr Lubbock’s injuries were not caused at his home but he did not know what happened.

He added: “This arrest was made without any proper evidential foundation. However, the fact that it had happened, and the worldwide publicity it received, destroyed the claimant’s career.”

Mr Tomlinson said that Mr Barrymore was entitled to substantial damages for false imprisonment.

Mr Barrymore is not due to give evidence during the five-day hearing, which is concerned with the issue of whether the damages should be substantial but will not fix a figure.

The hearing was adjourned until Tuesday.

Speaking after he left the Royal Courts of Justice, Mr Barrymore said: “I think it was a really good first day, a very good first day.”

Asked if he would get closure, Mr Barrymore said: “As a day one, I’m not counting my chickens here because it’s not for me to judge, but I brought the case to court. Not them.”

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